Patrick Melrose (TV series)

Patrick Melrose is a 2018 five-part drama miniseries starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Melrose. The show is based on a series of semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St Aubyn.[1]

Patrick Melrose
Official poster
Based onPatrick Melrose
by Edward St Aubyn
Written byDavid Nicholls
Directed byEdward Berger
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
No. of series1
No. of episodes5 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Stephen Smallwood
CinematographyJames Friend
Editor(s)Tim Murrell
DistributorShowtime (US)
Sky Vision (International)
Original network
Original releaseMay 12 (2018-05-12) 
June 9, 2018 (2018-06-09)


In the 1980s, wealthy Englishman Patrick Melrose attempts to overcome his addictions and demons rooted in abuse by his cruel father and negligent mother.



It was announced in February 2017 that Benedict Cumberbatch would star in and produce a television adaptation of Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose book series, that would air on Showtime in the United States and Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom. David Nicholls wrote the five episodes of the series, with Edward Berger directing.[2] In July, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving joined as Patrick’s mother and father, and Anna Madeley was cast as Patrick’s wife.[3] Allison Williams and Blythe Danner joined in August 2017, with filming begun by October in Glasgow.[4][5][6]


The first trailer debuted in April 2018, and the series premiered on May 12 on Showtime.[7][8] The series consecutively streamed new episodes on CraveTV in Canada.[9] It was shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK, and Sky Vision handled international sales of the series.[10]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
1"Bad News"Edward BergerDavid NichollsMay 12, 2018 (2018-05-12)0.219[11][12]
In 1982, Patrick Melrose is dispatched to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father David. He decides to quit using drugs but finds himself unable to stop as he recollects his father's abuse and encounters associates of his father. Patrick resorts to using heroin, alcohol, and other drugs and finally breaks down with a botched suicide attempt. Patrick places a call to his friend Johnny telling him he wishes to finally give up drugs.
2"Never Mind"Edward BergerDavid NichollsMay 19, 2018 (2018-05-19)0.186[13][12]
While going through heroin withdrawal, Patrick recalls a traumatic day he experienced as an 8 year old while on holiday in France with his parents. His father David is manipulative and cruel, his mother Eleanor an alcoholic who is terrified of her husband. It is revealed through a series of flashbacks that the young Patrick was sexually abused by his father, while his mother looked the other way.
3"Some Hope"Edward BergerDavid NichollsMay 26, 2018 (2018-05-26)0.236[14][12]
It's 1990 and Patrick has been invited to a party where Princess Margaret will be present. Patrick is trying to put his substance abuse in the past and has help from his friend Johnny who is in a therapy group. At the party, Princess Margaret behaves unpleasantly due to her social status and humiliates the French ambassador. She also dismisses the hostess' daughter from meeting her and this reminds Patrick of himself as a boy when his father wouldn't allow his mother to talk to him during dinner in France. Patrick later reveals to Johnny that he was sexually abused by his father for a number of years as a young boy. The episode ends with Patrick meeting the drug dealer Chilly Willy, who appeared in the first episode as the drug dealer who passed out, as he is about to leave from playing in the band at the party.
4"Mother's Milk"Edward BergerDavid NichollsJune 2, 2018 (2018-06-02)0.264[15][12]
In 2003, Patrick is sober and has become a lawyer. He brings his wife Mary and two children to the South of France to visit his gravely ill mother, who has suffered a stroke. Eleanor has been taken in by a shady guru named Seamus, who has convinced her to sign the deed to the house over to the "foundation" which he leads. Being disinherited conjures up Patrick's buried resentment toward his mother, causing him to begin drinking and using prescription drugs again. His marriage to Mary is also in trouble, which he makes worse by engaging in an affair with his old girlfriend Julia when she visits. Patrick comes to terms with the loss of his childhood home and gives his blessing to his mother's plans, offering to arrange for her to be brought to London. Thereafter Patrick brings his family to Connecticut to see his snobbish aunt Nancy, where his drinking spirals out of control. After an angry confrontation with Nancy, Mary confronts Patrick and gives him an ultimatum: sober up or leave.
5"At Last"Edward BergerDavid NichollsJune 9, 2018 (2018-06-09)0.197[16][12]
April 2005 - Eleanor Melrose has died and Patrick presides over her funeral. There are flashbacks of Patrick's life over the past two years, in which his drinking problem continued unabated after separating from Mary and his children. Eventually he returns to a rehab center, and after initially resisting the process and even escaping, he returned to focus on his recovery. His mother, bedridden in a London nursing home, insisted on being euthanised, so Patrick petitioned the British government to allow her to be brought to Switzerland. After gaining approval, Eleanor changes her mind at the last minute. There is also a flashback to years earlier, when Mary and Patrick realize that his father was a child molester, and Patrick for the first time confronts his mother about the abuse; Eleanor claims to have also been abused by David. In the present day, Eleanor's funeral and wake turn into a bizarre show as old faces converge. Patrick struggles to reconcile the positive portrait of Eleanor which others knew to his own experience of her as a neglectful mother.


Critical response

The series was praised for Cumberbatch's performance. It currently has an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of 80/100 on Metacritic. In 2019, the series was ranked 51st on The Guardian newspaper's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century.[17]

US ratings

No. Title Air dateRating
1 "Bad News" May 12, 20180.03[11][12]0.219
2 "Never Mind" May 19, 20180.03[13][12]0.186
3 "Some Hope" May 26, 20180.04[14][12]0.236
4 "Mother's Milk" June 2, 20180.04[15][12]0.264
5 "At Last" June 9, 20180.03[16][12]0.197


Year Award Category Nominee Result
2018 Primetime Emmy Awards[18] Outstanding Limited Series Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Edward Berger Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special David Nicholls Nominated
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Nina Gold and Martin Ware Nominated
2019 Satellite Awards[19] Best Miniseries Nominated
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Hugo Weaving Won
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Jennifer Jason Leigh Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[20] Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Benedict Cumberbatch Nominated
BAFTA Best Mini-Series Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor Benedict Cumberbatch Won


  1. How Benedict Cumberbatch became Patrick Melrose, by Henry Alford, Vanity Fair, April 3, 2018
  2. Otterson, Joe (2017-02-28). "Benedict Cumberbatch Set to Star in Showtime Limited Series 'Melrose'". The Wrap. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  3. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hugo Weaving Board Showtime Miniseries 'Patrick Melrose'
  4. ‘Patrick Melrose’: Allison Williams To Guest Star In Showtime Limited Series
  5. "Tony Winner Blythe Danner Joins Cast of Showtime Limited Series Patrick Melrose". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  6. Bone, Christian. "Benedict Cumberbatch Rocks An Eyepatch For Patrick Melrose TV Series". We Got This Covered. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  7. ‘Patrick Melrose’ Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch Loses His Mind in Brilliant New Look at Showtime Series
  8. Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘Patrick Melrose’ Sets Showtime Premiere Date
  9. SHOWTIME® Teases New Limited Series PATRICK MELROSE
  10. "Sky l Vision – Sky's production and distribution arm". Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  11. Metcalf, Mitch (May 16, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.12.2018". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  12. "Patrick Melrose: Season One Ratings". TV Series Finale. June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  13. Metcalf, Mitch (May 22, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.19.2018". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  14. Metcalf, Mitch (May 30, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 5.26.2018". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  15. Metcalf, Mitch (June 5, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.2.2018". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  16. Metcalf, Mitch (June 12, 2018). "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.9.2018". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  17. "The 100 best TV shows of the 21st century". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  18. "Emmys: Netflix Beats HBO With Most Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  19. "2018 Nominees". November 28, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  20. 2019 Golden Globe Nominations: See the Full List
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